New Plymouth District Council has set up an interface between geographical information and the administrative data held in its Corporate Vision system.
The project was undertaken with help from Fujitsu and Auckland-based geographical information system specialist Spatial Media. The resulting combination could be useful to other local authorities, says IT manager Guy Bodger; or even to private-sector companies that wish to link business data to a geographical representation. But the council will not be getting involved in further sales. “That’s not our role,” says Bodger. “That’s for Fujitsu and Spatial Media to arrange.” Fujitsu marketing manager Bill Dashfield was unsure at press time whether the system might be sold more widely or not. "I've heard nothing about such plans," he says. In local government application, Bodger says, immediate awareness of the geographical situation of someone making an inquiry or seeking planning permission could well make the process quicker and more relevant. From textual records alone, he says, the council can guess that an application for development at Number 43 Acacia Ave, for example, would be relevant to the people at 41 and 45. With map data available, council officials could more quickly identify that 43 is on a corner and 41 is over the other side of the intersecting street, which would make the impact of the proposed development lower. If a number of households report flooding, a quick link of those reports to the GIS may identify an area with a flooding problem. The system is planned for application internally. A browser base, however, will potentially allow access by the public. "That's an opportunity," Bodger says. "We've not yet taken a look at whether we will be doing it, but [online] service to customers is a definite trend."